In the first half of 2022 alone, VC funding in Saudi Arabia grew more than threefold, outshining the whole of 2021, according to a report released by startup data platform Magnitt. This buoyant VC market provides an excellent backdrop for hosting Saudi Arabia’s largest tech startup event. Step Saudi 2022 kicks off on 12 December at The Arena Riyadh with an inspiring mix of startups, investors, digital enthusiasts, brands, and government representatives.
Panel sessions including “Hotbed for Global VCs”; “FinTech’s Compliance with Changing Regulations”; “Web3 in Saudi Arabia: How will Web3 be integrated into the systems?”, and “Podcasting Pool”, will look at ongoing themes that the region´s startup ecosystem will face as it is set to steadily increase in size moving forward.
Top speakers include Mohammed Alsuhaim, Assistant Deputy Minister for Future Skills & Digital Knowledge & CEO at Saudi Digital Academy, H.E. Dr. Nabeel Koshak, the CEO and Board Member of Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Muna AbuSulayman, Media Icon and Social Impact Leader, Nayef Al-Athel, Chief of Listing at the Saudi Exchange, scientist-turned-entrepreneur HRH Fahad Bandar Al Saud, former investment banker Khadija Khartit, and 500 Global´s Amal Dokhan.
The event, which is sponsored by the leading Saudi Venture Studio BIM Ventures, will host some of the most exciting emerging tech talent as they meet with early-stage investors to showcase ideas covering everything from fintech -particularly payments and crypto- to AI, e-commerce, energy and cloud.
“Our role as a venture builder is critical in bringing bold ideas and early-stage startups to light and co-building with them to reach to financial sustainability and growth. We strongly believe in the potential growth of Saudi startups and are committed to supporting and consolidating the early-stage startup ecosystem in the region.” Rayan Alsharif, Partner at BIM Ventures commented
The Vision 2030 project, which was launched in 2016, hails tech innovation and entrepreneurship as paramount pillars in helping the next generation of Saudis thrive in the global marketplace. Vision 2030 also includes Neom, a $500bn futuristic city specifically built to promote tech and innovation.
Ray Dargham, CEO of Step said: “With the rapid growth of Saudi Arabia´s venture capital ecosystem, Step Saudi has a vital part to play in its development.”
He added: “The most important aspects for achieving further growth are already there. Step Saudi will play a crucial role in supporting this vision. We’re expecting important announcements at Step Saudi from VCs and startups participating this year, and I believe this will continue on a growth trajectory. We are pleased to facilitate introductions between global decision-makers and local Saudi startups. The VC ecosystem needs a thriving platform for the innovation of high tech and e-commerce, together with other sectors across the MENA region”